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Farmers in Lahaul, Spiti Invest Rs. 55 Lakh from their Own Pockets to Solve Irrigation Problems

The farmers in the Lahaul district have pooled Rs.55 lakhs from their own pockets to solve their irrigation problems.

Kritika Madhukar
Since March, the Lahaul valley has been experiencing drought-like conditions, causing farmers to be concerned about their harvests
Since March, the Lahaul valley has been experiencing drought-like conditions, causing farmers to be concerned about their harvests

Farmers in Lahaul and Spiti district's Tandi and Sumnam villages have set an example by investing Rs 55 lakh out of their own wallets to acquire water supplies to irrigate their agricultural land

The Himachal government, on the other hand, has now agreed to cover 85 percent of the overall cost of the lift-water irrigation plan.

"The lift-water irrigation plan has cost roughly Rs 70 lakh," says Virender Kumar, pradhan of Tandi gram panchayat. Farmers from Tandi and Sumnam villages contributed Rs 55 lakh from their own pockets, while Tribal Development Minister Ram Lal Markanda contributed Rs 15 lakh from his MLA money to the project."

"The gram panchayat has submitted to the state government for approval a proposal of Rs 28 lakh for Sumnam village and another of Rs 27 lakh for Tandi village under the Vikas Main Jan Sehyog program, under which the state government would pay 85 percent of the cost." 

"The farmers' expenditure would be compensated when the government releases Rs 55 lakh," he says.

Since March, the Lahaul valley has been experiencing drought-like conditions, causing farmers to be concerned about their harvests. Farmers in the area must rely on seasonal rains to increase productivity due to a lack of irrigation facilities.

On April 19, farmers from Tandi and Sumnam villages hired a JCB machine to dig a pit on the Chandrabhaga's banks. They each paid Rs 1 lakh for the installation of pipelines and pumps to raise water from the river.

"Every farmer in the area gave Rs 1 lakh for the building of the lift-water project," says Virender Kumar, a farmer from Tandi village. "Rs 55 lakh was collected."

Another farmer, Vikram Katoch, adds, "Water is accessible for irrigation in both villages thanks to the efforts of the farmers and the cooperation of the state government." 

Farmers took the initiative first, and then the government stepped in." According to Tribal Development Minister Ram Lal Markanda, the state government would fund 85 percent of the cost.

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